Have the Chelsea faithful shown enough patience in Torres?
It was the 21st of January, 2011. Chelsea had rejected a bid of £40 million from Chelsea, however Torres wasn’t too pleased at this decision as he handed in his transfer request the very next day. Negotiations followed the next week. The Kop showed their displeasure by mocking Torres in the games that followed.
But the Spaniard wasn’t moved by all of this.
Finally on 31st of January 2011, Torres signed for the Blues for £50 million, setting a new British transfer record, and in the process becoming the the sixth most expensive footballer in history! But as the saying goes, not everything is as it seems to be and Torres was soon to find out what it actually meant.
He was made to wait for his much anticipated debut for Chelsea which took place on the 6th of February, ironically against Liverpool, which didn’t go down well. Chelsea ended up losing the game 1-0 . This was the beginning of a long, dark phase in the career of the talented striker from the Atlético Madrid youth program. In the weeks to follow, Torres faced a drought of goals as he struggled to find the net for a staggering 903 minutes! He finally broke his duck on the 23rd of April against a lacklustre West Ham side.
The end of the season couldn’t come sooner for Torres as his performance brought serious questions over his price-tag, many Chelsea fans had already started to term him a ’50 million flop’. But then Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti kept faith in his £50 million gamble, but didn’t last long enough to see it come up with some memorable performances.
The 2011/12 campaign followed a similar trend. Torres was nowhere close to recreating the form and magic he’d managed shown with Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. His goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford gave Chelsea fans a glimpse of what they could expect once the Spaniard had hit the ground running. They were made to take it all in as Torres missed a near sitter midway into the second half. He had done the tough part, which was rounding keeper David De Gea, had the open goal gaping at his mercy, and then resulted in the Spaniard missing an open goal, which could have probably been the catalyst to his rise in form.
But it was not to be.
Fast forward to the present, and four goals in 12 league games has already piled more pressure on Torres’s shoulders and this could be the end of his time at Chelsea. Roberto Di Matteo might have to transfer-list the Spaniard and look for a new striker, someone who could oblige the excellent service provided by Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.
But how did all of this happen? What led to the downfall of one of the most feared strikers who tormented the opposition defense with his slick movement, incisive runs and deadly strikes?
When Torres signed for Liverpool, the then manager Rafa Benitez was under a lot of criticism for signing a young striker for £20 million, which at that time was a club record for Liverpool.
To this Benitez said:
“Just wait and watch, he’s worth all the money”.
He indeed was! Scoring 24 goals in your first Premier League season is something special, and the Kop knew there was a lot more to come from the young Spaniard. 2007/8 was evidently the best season of his career, netting in 33 goals in 46 appearances. Remarkable indeed.
The 2010/11 season was where the rough patch of his career began, when he scored only nine goals that season. He was upset about the sacking of Rafa Benitez, a man who he felt had led Liverpool to their best ever season, finishing 2nd behind eventual winners Manchester United in the 2008/09 season.
Was it the lack of silverware that drove him to Stamford Bridge? Did he oppose the Merseyside philosophy? Was it the change in managers that led to his frustration?
According to Spanish reports, in an exclusive interview with Torres, the player stated he wanted to leave Liverpool as the club’s ambition didn’t please him. This was the catalyst to his exit from the club.
Ever since his big money move, he’s been the target of anger and criticism from football fans all over the world.
His performance at the 2012 Euros, where he ended up as the highest goal scorer of the tournament brought a glimmer of hope.
But it was – once again – not to be.
As a critic, the opinion of the masses out there is that Torres should leave Chelsea and look for a challenge elsewhere, probably AC Milan who are currently struggling in Serie A. In spite of his drop in form, teams from all around the world are readying their paychecks to acquire the signature of ‘El Nino’.
He could have revelled at Chelsea, but it just wasn’t in his destiny to be a frequent scorer at the Matthew Harding end. The Stamford Bridge faithful have held their patience, but I’m afraid it’s running out. Torres shall always be respected for what he has done and achieved at Anfield, but his time at Chelsea is something he’d have to forget. Here’s wishing Torres for a successful time ahead.
And hopefully a more successful time in front of goal.